Local Healesville Group Receives $428,500 Funding to Establish a Community Renewable Energy Power Hub
Healesville CoRE is very excited to announce it has been successful in obtaining $428,500 grant funding from Sustainability Victoria to establish and develop a Community Power Hub for the Greater Yarra Valley and Ranges area.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, on Thursday 8 July, 2021. See the announcement HERE!
The Victorian Government has allocated $3.73 million to seven not-for-profit and non-government organisations to work with their regions to develop community renewable energy projects. Sustainability Victoria will support the establishment of Community Power Hubs across Victoria including two in metropolitan Melbourne and one each in the regions of Hume, Grampians, Loddon Mallee, Barwon South West and Gippsland regions.
Healesville CoRE (Healesville Community Renewable Energy Inc) which formed 4 years ago running renewable energy programs in the Healesville and surrounding areas, will establish and develop the Yarra Valley Community Power Hub (YV-CPHub). It will be made up of Healesville CoRE and 7 other community energy groups: Yarra Glenergy (from Yarra Glen), Clean Energy Nillumbik from Kangaroo Ground, Upper Yarra Community Power from Warburton, Yarra Valley ECOSS from Wesburn, Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association from Emerald, Bunyip Renewable Action Group and Eastern Climate Action from the Whitehorse City Council area.
The President of Healesville CoRE, Mr Jeff Barlow, who will become the new Executive Officer for the YV-CPHub, was very excited about this development for the small but very effective community group he leads: “We have worked very hard over the past 4 years, putting in thousands of hours of voluntary work into developing awareness of renewable energy, and running renewable energy projects with our community, and we are thrilled to now be able to collaborate with 7 other community groups to initiate, develop and deploy renewable energy projects across the Greater Yarra Valley and Ranges area.”
“Together with our industry partner, Komo Energy, who will provide technical, professional and legal support, we are now well situated to develop a collaborative partnership with the other community energy groups to develop a range of small to medium renewable energy projects”, said Mr Barlow.
Mr Barlow added, “This is an incredibly important initiative by the Victorian Government. The program, funded through Sustainability Victoria, will have a positive impact on our community, with the potential to support local businesses, create local employment and develop greater community support for renewable energy and other clean energy initiatives. The awarding of this grant now creates the opportunity for an exponential increase in community renewable energy in the region!”
Since the inception of Healesville CoRE there has been strong collaboration with the Yarra Ranges Council through their grants’ program and the Sustainability Team. The Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council, Cr Fiona McAllister sees this grant as a very positive development: “I am thrilled that Healesville CoRE will be leading a new Community Power Hub in the region, and will be working with other community renewable energy groups in Yarra Ranges and neighbouring municipalities,” Cr McAllister said.
“Healesville CoRE was formed only a few short years ago and with support from Council has gone from strength to strength – this is community action at its best”.
This program follows the success of the Victorian Government’s Community Power Hub Pilot program 2017-2020 which funded the implementation of solar arrays, bulk buy solar panels and solar streetlight installations in community facilities and households, substantially boosting Victoria’s renewable energy capacity and saving thousands of dollars in energy costs annually.
“We’re working with our communities across the Greater Yarra Valley and Ranges region to implement local renewable energy projects, to enable the transition to a low carbon, clean energy future”, said Mr Barlow. “As the lead partner organization, Healesville Community Renewable Energy Inc will be funded to increase access, involvement and ownership of renewable energy systems within the Greater Yarra Valley and Ranges region, whilst delivering significant economic benefits and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Local projects will increase community awareness and support for renewable and clean energy initiatives and will help households, small businesses and community services to reduce energy costs.
“Our Greater Yarra Valley & Ranges Community Power Hub will be one of the most important platforms for communities in our region to move towards a renewable energy system. Working at the grass roots level to empower our local communities with the knowledge and the support they need, is crucial if we are to make the transition to a low carbon, clean energy future,” Mr Barlow said.